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New Dawn for Sun Care

By: Irina Barbalova, Euromonitor
Posted: December 3, 2008, from the December 2008 issue of GCI Magazine.

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As a result of this increased consumer awareness, as well as a shift in cosmetics and toiletries fashions, sun protection was the most dynamic part of the entire global market, generating sales growth of 52% throughout the 2003–2007 period, according to Euromonitor International. The category was also the largest part of global sun care, generating 83% of global values in 2007. Geographic trends also underlined fashion trends. Asia-Pacific, for example, accounted for 18% of total sun care, but 21% of sun protection sales. A far higher premium is placed on a pale complexion in markets such as Japan and South Korea. These long-standing trends show little sign of abating, and in Japan the market was driven by products such as Kanebo Cosmetics’ Allie Whitening Protector and Nivea Sun Protect Whitening Gel.

Technological Development

Value development in the category has been further supported by the relative ease with which producers have added value to their products, largely taking their cue from developments in the skin care market. Typical developments in the review period included the addition of antiaging or moisturizing formulations, and levels of product development have been high. In Western Europe, more than 450 sun care products were launched January–August 2008. Herbal and botanical trends continued to grow, and products utilizing nanotechnology are being developed. However, research suggesting that nanoparticles may penetrate sun-damaged skin has caused concern about their increasingly widespread use in sun protection, and as a result sun care remains a step behind skin care.

Nonetheless, the inclination toward a more scientific/medical positioning for the category has helped market growth.

Consumers are largely unsure of exactly what is required for full sun protection, and manufacturers have exploited this uncertainty with a wide range of products that supposedly offer the correct coverage. Products that offer “photo-stable broad-spectrum protection” for example, which refers to products containing ingredients that offer long-term protection against UVA and UVB rays, have underpinned strong price positions within sun care, as producers push the idea that a high SPF product that only protects against sunburn-causing UVB rays is insufficient for proper sun protection.

Application technology has also greatly helped to underpin price positions, in particular the widespread use of sprays, which make the application process more convenient while increasing the average dose of each application. Other new technologies are also emerging, including “edible beauty” products such as lutein esters extracted from marigold flowers. Specialty chemical company Cognis claims that these esters improve skin hydration and elasticity, boost skin moisture and enhance the skin’s ability to protect itself from the sun. The sun care category, therefore, appears to be on the verge of a great leap forward, despite adverse market conditions that are lowering disposable incomes.

Big Beauty Brands on Board